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Backyard Hens are Coming to Palatine

The Palatine Village Council voted 4-2 in favor of allowing petitioner Steven Brosio to house six hens in a chicken coop on his 1.8 acres of property.

The Palatine Village Council Monday approved a permit to allow resident Steven Brosio to have a chicken coop and house six hens, on his 1.8 acres of property at 624 W. Hill Road.

The issue has been in question in Palatine since it was first proposed in the spring of 2012. 

In early January, Brosio received unanimous approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals relating to his request. 

Three Palatine residents, and two individuals who live nearby to Brosio in unincorporated Cook County spoke in favor of his petition at the village council meeting Monday. Brosio sought an Accessory Unique Use Permit to allow the hens and the chicken coop on his property.

None of the 19 individuals [from 11 households] who previously signed a petition against the proposal attended the village council meeting.

Prior to the vote, District 2 Councilman Scott Lamerand said, “When you purchase a home in the village, there are a set of ordinances you are governed by. The rules of the game are such that this is outside of the scope of things, it is difficult to change things.”

Other councilmen voiced a different perspective.  

“I agree chicken coops don’t have a place in an urban setting, but this is a different setting, 1.8 acres…this is certainly a rural setting, different than all of our neighborhoods,” said Greg Solberg, District 4 councilman.

Brosio’s close to two acres of property opens up on one side to the bike path and there is a significant structure behind the chicken coop that divides it from residential properties , said Village Manager Reid Ottesen.

When the vote came, Kollin Kozlowski (District 5), Brad Helms (District 6), Aaron Del Mar (District 1) and Solberg voted in favor of Brosio's request. Lamerand and Mayor Jim Schwantz voted against it.

After the vote, Helms and Kozlowski explained why they voted as they did.

“This is a very unique piece of property, and we had to look at it that way,” Helms said.

“My feeling is that this sets a baseline for our community [in regards to Brosio's property size],” Kozlowski said.

Ottesen said with the approval comes conditions Brosio will have to adhere to. They include allowing only six hens, requiring a 20 foot setback for the chicken coop from property lines, and 40 feet from residential properties, prohibiting roosters, adding necessary fencing, and prohibiting the slaughter of chickens on the property.

Eggs produced from the hens also cannot be used for business or commercial purposes.

The village will require a six month review of Brosio's chicken coop and hens to ensure the public, and property values of nearby residents are being protected. The village also reserves the right to impose additional conditions to address concerns if they arise. 

In November of 2012, the Palatine Village Council denied a request from resident Vanessa Barsanti. Ottesen said any requests that have previously been turned down can be brought before the village council after a year's time has passed. 

J R January 22, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I think it is great that the Village Council approved this petition. It sounds like they made a common sense decision that will be a good test location for this proposal. Having a backyard coop so that one has fresh eggs sounds like a wonderful thing to have. My neighborhood is too dense, so I wouldn't want to have one for fear of being a nuisance to my neighbors. But by looking at the petitions individually, the council showed that our village is flexible enough for different tastes in living style. I hope the the petitioner respects his neighbors and becomes a great example of how this could work well.
Gina January 22, 2013 at 03:03 PM
We are very happy for Steve and his family! This is Palatine's first step in the right direction.
Justin Berry January 22, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I think it is great that they listed to the petitioner and the neighbors and did the right thing.
Lila Gibson January 22, 2013 at 04:56 PM
At this point in time, I truly feel like the backyard hens are yesterday's news. I mean like I just don't care one way or another anymore. Good for Steve but honestly who cares at this point? I'm much more concerned with the crime and the gangs and my property taxes now.
Sharon Johnson January 22, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Hopefully they will sell their extra eggs to me!
Joemama January 22, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Just a few things to look foward to: “If you’ve never seen a raccoon on your property, I can almost guarantee you’ll see one within the first few nights that you bring those chickens home,” A report from the Center for Disease Control this summer traced a seven-year salmonella outbreak to a hatchery that shipped chicks to consumers around the country. Lets do the math 6 hens times 1 egg a day times 7 days in a week times 52 weeks in a year equals a total of 2,184 eggs a year or 182 dozen eggs a year. Unless you have 5 persons living in your home you will be throwing away a lot of eggs. Or you will sell them is more like it.
Joemama January 22, 2013 at 09:24 PM
"Eggs produced from the hens also cannot be used for business or commercial purposes." So no sale Sharon!
Vanessa January 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Always such a negative nancy when it comes to hens, Joemama. Steve has had his hens for a while and he had MANY neighbors testify to the fact that they have caused no issues with predators since he got his hens. And no neighbor testified to the contrary. He also hasn't been throwing away any eggs since he's had his hens. Nobody is forcing you to have hens Joemama. The sky will not fall if hens are allowed, as it hasn't fallen in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, Portland, Evanston, Austin, Flower Mound, Topeka, Madison, Albuquerque, Spokane, Honolulu, Charlotte, Nashville, San Jose, Memphis, St. Paul, Boise, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, Duluth, Mobile, Anaheim, Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Petaluma, Santa Rose, Colorado Springs, Miami, Sanford, Alpharetta, Des Moines, Sioux City, Evansville, Chicago, Louisville, Baton Rouge, Cambridge, Northampton, Somerset, Westwood, Minneapolis, Raleigh, Corvallis, Rochester, St. Louis, Orem City, Burlington, Everett, Lynnwood, Olympia, Tacoma, Vancouver, Green Bay, Denver, Baltimore, Hartford, Lincoln, Omaha, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, New Hempstead, Syracuse, Stillwater, Pittsburgh, Salem, Aikin, Nashville, Oak Park, Batavia, Winnetka, and the many other communities that allow them. Eventually, it may take years, but eventually, Palatine will get with the times and join these communities. I have no doubt.
Joemama January 23, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Here are just 3 examples of why back yard chickens shouldn't be allowed.Feral chickens have proliferated in New Orleans. Wild chickens have the whole town clucking FITZGERALD, Ga. UPDATE May 5, 2011: I imagined that this could not happen in northern cities, but evidently it does. In 2009, a South Philadelphia block was colonized by chickens. They evidently could survive the winters, because they had evidently been around for several years at that point. Animal control tried to round them all up, and got a few, but ultimately failed. And there are feral chickens in the Bronx, New York also. This could be Denver's future, and the way things are going, probably will be. If you want farm resh eggs join a CSA. This will accomplish two things 1 help promote more organic farms in our area that have the knowhow and area to accommodate these animals. 2 help slow down the production from the large egg farms.
Gina January 24, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Once again Joemama you speak with little knowledge on the topic. Fitzgerald, Georgia's feral chickens were purposely released for hunting purposes. I'm committed to educating the public on backyard hens. Eventually Palatine officials will see the evidence, facts, and benefits these pets have to offer and will allow Palatine residents to keep backyard hens. I'm sorry you cannot get past the negative connotations you have of chickens. The standards have been raised and the hobby has evolved. Some of these chickens look like a piece of art. They are that pretty. Google Polish Silkies and Golden and Silver Laced Seramas. I love the Blue Laced (not sure of the spelling on that one) as well. I don't want to banter with you back and forth. However, rational discussion is needed to provide education. I hear your concerns and they are not dismissed. Rather, we are showing you what can alleviate your concers. Steve's chickens have been around a very long time with no negative impact on his neighbors. His neighbors testified to that. Additionally, an entire subdivision went up, was sold, and bought. This is a clear example how this hobby does not negatively impact home values. Remember, having hens goes way beyond a great tasting egg. Therefore belonging to a CSA is not the answer. Sustainability is not a passing fad but a necessity and, the backyard hen contributes emensly to the goal of sustainability. I encourage you to bring forth your concerns so we can continue to address them.
JJ Hawk January 24, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Joemama, Let's do the math.... 1 female chicken + 0 male chickens (no roostes allowed) = 0 new chickens. Entertaining stories, but I don't see a bunch of feral chickens running around created by virgin hens.
Joemama January 24, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Gina, & JJ Hawk So New Orleans, South Philadelphia, & the Bronx, New York don't have feral chickens running around?
Paul Shafer January 24, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Hey let's open a feral chicken rescue center at the old Anthem's.
Gina January 25, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Joemama, I would refer you to JJ Hawk's reply. We need to approach this rationally.
Eliona January 26, 2013 at 04:39 AM
Joemama, no chickens will give you that many eggs even in their first year. They are living things and are effected by the short daylight and some breeds do go broody. And no chicken keeper will throw out eggs. It is a nice thing to share with a neighbor. I think the rules were harsh and leave no room for other people with smaller lots than 2 acres. Looking at the conditions chickens live in the hatcheries that had the outbreaks should actually make more people want to raise their own eggs. We are lucky to be in Chicago and my 2 little kids are enjoying their chicken pets very much and their friends ask for playdates in our garden all the time. We didnt have neighbors complain and we take care about keeping things clean and tidy. We all were born and raised in the city but are enjoying this ` rural` experience with our birds very much. Chickens are fun to watch and take care off. And they are addictive. We started with 2 little fluffy chicks and now we have 4 beautiful different breeds. And I admit I want 3 more breeds that I really like. If you were close Joemama we would love to invite you for a coffee or tea....
Lisa Zink January 26, 2013 at 02:32 PM
I am agreeing with Eliona on this. I keep hens on a suburban property where it is legal (1.2 acres). Most of my neighbors do not even know I have a coop in my backyard. I do not have issues with predators even though there is a high population of coyotees in the area. My birds lay enough eggs for my family of five and we share the bounty with a few neighbors and friends when we have extras. If you want to be worried about salmonella outbreaks and recalls look to your large scale food supply: NOT a backyard hen.
Joemama March 05, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Check out this link to find your fresh eggs http://crystallake.patch.com/articles/local-csas-deliver-food-thats-fresh-from-the-farm-afbe0b85

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